By Farah Hannoun and John Morgan
Amanda Lino is one of the rising stars of South African MMA. In just six pro fights, Lino (4-2) was able to capture both the EFC flyweight and bantamweight titles, and has recently signed with new Afro-French MMA promotion, Ares FC.
Lino was scheduled to make her promotional debut at Ares FC 2 in a rematch of her back-and-forth battle with Rizlen Zouak. But, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the event was canceled.
Africa has never been represented better in MMA than as of late, with two recently-crowned Nigerian-born UFC champions in Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman. Lino said she likes where the sport is headed, especially for female fighters.
“The sport has just grown phenomenally,” Lino told MMA Junkie. “I remember four years ago there weren’t even professional female fighters and now look at us. We have really good female fighters coming out of South Africa. Not only that, they’re bringing, or the EFC itself, are bringing in international fighters over there so the EFC really, really just made the best of the opportunity there with regards to the sport and they’ve grown it massively.
“And the great news is now we have Ares coming into Africa which is going to grow (the sport) even more. Years ago, and I’ll say this from experience, four years ago, us as female athletes, we couldn’t even consider MMA as a career. Now you look at it (and) it’s the fastest growing sport in the world.”
EFC helped put South African MMA on the map, and Lino is excited for her new chapter with Ares FC, a promotion that debuted in Senegal and is contributing to the development of the sport in the continent.
“I’m really honored and privileged to have been part of the EFC when it first started,” said Lino. “With the female division especially, making history for the first time, being the flyweight champion and the bantamweight champion. That was a huge step in my career.”